Upgrading educational infrastructure is welcomed but not at the cost of sports stadiums

Mohsin Kamal

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Srinagar, July 15: “Sports is vital for physical and mental health. It keeps youth away from drugs.” How many times have you heard people in administration say these things? You don’t need a strong memory to recollect it. Just recall any sports related event; I’m sure they must have said the same lines.

But do they really care if sport exists or not? Do they even take sports seriously? I assume, absolutely not. 

In the last couple of months, there have been several reports coming forward, where sportspeople were seen protesting. Why is it instead of hitting fields to play their favourite sport, they are holding cards and raising slogans? 

The reason might shock you but it’s unsurprising at the same time, given how people see sports here. The administration wants to build colleges, schools or other stuff at the play-fields. Yes, you heard it right. They want to convert stadiums, where thousands of youth play, into educational institutes and other government departments. 

No, the sportspeople obviously don’t have any problem with the infrastructure being built, but why at the cost of the stadiums or play-fields is the question they ask. But again does anyone care? 

At the moment, it looks very few do. A month back, approximately, there was a protest at Amar Singh College Ground, where both elderly and young sports loving people had gathered to protest the construction of a building in the middle of the play-field. 

The person leading from the front, who probably is in his 50s, could be seen literally begging to the administration for the sake of this ‘dearly ground’. (Video Below) 


What does this tell us? Imagine how would that person or the youngsters who were behind him feel if the ground is vandalized anyway? Will they listen to the same officials who will later, in their speech, say, “Persue career in sports. Make your region proud. Blah, Blah…”

Another example is that of Hajin Sports Ground, which is being converted into a college. The locals say despite having enough space around, the admin is reluctant in building the college in the stadium. 

Also read: ‘Save Sports Ground Hajin’

This again tells us how seriously sports is taken here. No doubt, education is very important, or may be most important, but does it mean sports means nothing? Where will the aspiring sportsmen go?

There are several more examples of stadiums being converted into government offices across Jammu and Kashmir. This also puts a question on the role of officials who work in sports bodies like Sports Council, Youth Services and Sports, etc. Why don’t they speak about it? Or at least suggest the government to leave these fields for sports alone? 

They don’t probably because most of these officials aren’t from a sports background. All they care about is the first week of the month, which is both worrying and disheartening for budding sportsmen and women. 

The politicians, who leave no stone unturned to take credit when someone makes a mark is sports, should also be questioned. Why don’t they utter a word when a stadium gets vandalized? Why so hypocrite? But again, isn’t this the word that defines most of them, actually?

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